revista presei pe energie 22 noiembrie – part IV

2010/11/22 U.S. endorses TAPI pipeline

The United States is pleased with efforts to revive the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-India-Pakistan pipeline and believes it will create a stabilizing influence in the region, a senior U.S. State Department official said at the 15thTurkmenistan Oil and Gas Conference in Ashgabat on Friday.

The three-day conference in Ashgabat gathered officials and companies interested developing Turkmenistan’s oil and gas sector.

“While many challenges remain, important steps are being taken, and we are encouraged by this progress,” the Trend news agency reported Deputy Assistant Secretary of South and Central Asian Affairs Susan Elliott as saying.

“It is important to remember that pipelines are long-term projects with long-term horizons, and that the immense effort involved will produce long-term benefits for Turkmenistan and the region.

TAPI’s route may serve as a stabilizing corridor, linking neighbors together in economic growth and prosperity. The road ahead is long for this project, but the benefits could be tremendous and are certainly worthy of the diligence demonstrated by these four countries so far,” Elliott said.

The U.S. believes that the pipeline could play a critical role in Afghanistan’s development, the assistant secretary added, by providing a source of employment and significant revenue for the violence-ridden country.

Elliott also stressed the importance of providing “clean fuel” for the economies of India and Pakistan.

“I believe that Turkmenistan’s strategic location and abundant natural resources have the great potential to increase future global economic growth and development,” she said. Tajikistan, Russia consider removing Russian oil export taxes

Oil taxes and hydropower construction were two of the topics touched upon by Tajik and Russian delegates at the 11th Tajik-Russian Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation in Moscow on Tuesday.

Russia and Tajikistan agreed to initiate a study in January to consider the removal of tax duties on Russian oil, Tajik news service reported on Wednesday.

“This agreement has become the most significant achievement” of the meeting, reported Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko as saying.

Russia re-imposed in June duties on oil exported to Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) members who were not part of the customs union it established with Kazakhstan and Belarus. As a result, oil prices increased 30 to 40 percent in Tajikistan.

Tajikistan imports 70 percent of its oil from Russia, reported.

Both sides also discussed the schedule of debt repayment for funds lent by Russia to build the Sangtuda-1 hydropower plant, which aims to end the electricity shortages that plague Tajikistan during the winter.

The construction of a new hydropower plant in Tajikistan with the participation of Russian companies was also discussed, reported the Tajik embassy in Russia as saying.

The 12th economic cooperation session will be held in Tajikistan.

In a separate meeting, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon met with Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) chief Nikolai Bortnikov to discuss cooperation in strengthening regional security, Tajik news agency AsiaPlus reported on Wednesday. IAEA to vote on establishment of global nuclear fuel bank

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) may soon establish a global nuclear fuel bank, possibly in Kazakhstan, to help counter the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

The 35-nation IAEA board is expected to vote for the proposal at their meeting of governors on December 2-3 in Vienna, Austria, European diplomats told the Reuters news agency on Wednesday.

The plan, proposed by former IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei, is to buy 66-88 tons of low-enriched uranium for around $150 million of member donations and selling it at market prices to meet the growing energy demand from countries without nuclear technology.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev last year proposed that his country, a testing ground for atomic bombs during the Soviet era, host the fuel bank.

The facility, which would operate under IAEA jurisdiction, would supply fuel to nations that agree to the initiative and show a perfect non-proliferation record.

The plan would offer an alternative to countries building their own uranium enriching facilities and so reduce the risk of weapons proliferation.

Guaranteed fuel supply “is one tool that allows states entry into the nuclear arena without requiring investment in extensive infrastructure development…. It certainly contributes positively toward preventing the proliferation of nuclear material,” the news agency cited one Western diplomat as saying.

The fuel bank would not compete with or replace commercial suppliers and would only be used if necessary.

The plan was stalled a year ago by some developing nations who said they have a right to produce their own nuclear fuel. Iran’s enrichment program, which some fear is aimed at developing nuclear weapons, may have pushed the idea to the forefront, Reuters reported.

One European envoy told Reuters the fuel bank was a “positive way to reduce the risks of weapons proliferation” while not restricting any country’s right to pursue civilian fuel technology. EU representative in Azerbaijan: Nabucco, ITGI are priority projects

The infrastructure for transporting gas to Europe under the second stage of development of the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz offshore gas condensate field must be ready by 2016-2017, head of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan, AmbassadorRoland Kobia said at a press conference today.

He added that the South Energy Corridor, including such projects as Nabucco, ITGI, TAP, and White Stream, is important for diversifying the EU’s gas supply sources and routes.

Nabucco and ITGI are priority projects for the EU, he said. More EU countries will be provided with gas only after these projects are implemented. Azerbaijan will be able to sell gas in large volumes.

Azerbaijan is considered the main supplier of gas under the South Energy Corridor projects. The country will act not only as an exporting country, but also as a country transiting gas from third countries. Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan are among these countries, he said.

He stressed that Azerbaijan, as well as Europe, is interested in diversifying gas supply routes. This will allow the country to sell gas at higher prices, as Russia does now.

Russia is a strategic partner of Europe, he said, noting that the EU is a major buyer of Russian gas. However, the EU and other suppliers have the right to hold talks to realize new projects, he said.

He added that the EU stands against a monopoly in any sphere, particularly the energy sector. There is a competition even among projects in the South Energy Corridor because each company-participant can independently negotiate and implement projects, he said. US and EU to increase gas supplies from Caspian and Middle East regions

“We noted the June 7, 2010 signing of a gas transit and pricing agreement between Turkey and Azerbaijan, which opened the way for producers and shippers to negotiate contracts to bring Caspian gas to European markets”, EU-US Energy Council participants reported in their press statement allocated on the website of the European Union.

Ministerial-level Participants on the EU side were the EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, Energy Minister Freya Van den Bossche for the EU Presidency and Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger, and on the US side US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Energy Daniel Poneman.

According to the statement, the participants reviewed the work of the Energy Security Working Group and were encouraged by progress since the last meeting in the development of a Southern Corridor to diversify sources and routes to help meet Europe’s long-term natural gas requirements.

“We noted the June 7, 2010 signing of a gas transit and pricing agreement between Turkey and Azerbaijan, which opened the way for producers and shippers to negotiate contracts to bring Caspian gas to European markets. We look forward to the conclusion of commercial agreements with the Shah Deniz II consortium in early 2011, which will trigger actual construction of the necessary infrastructure”, they underlined in the press statement.

At the same time the Energy Council participants considered additional, non-Caspian sources of gas for the Southern Corridor, agreeing that Iraq has the potential to export while meeting its own domestic requirements.

The European Union and the United States established the EU-U.S. Energy Council at the ministerial level in November 2009 to deepen their dialogue in these areas. The Energy Council met again today to review progress and delegate new projects to the working groups on security, technology and policy.

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